I'm new, Whats the meaning of it all?


Hello, I am a new member but not new to motorcycles. However, I am new to a few things that I have never thought of before on my XR650R or my previous motorcycles, aftermarket stuff! What does it all do?

I have grown up riding woods trails on motorcycles and ATV’s and have ridden with my brothers, father, his friends, their kids, and a grandfather or two. All of our stuff has been completely stock! We did ride hard (depending on how experienced everyone was) but we were the hicks that the “Zuit-Suit Riders” (What we call the riders with loud pipes, matching jersey/pants, chest protectors and all) laughed at because we were wearing work boots, Camo coveralls, open-faced helmets in a chain of 4-5 riding fast or 10-12 when we had all the little ones with us. We had fun though. We have always taken excellent care of things mechanically meaning we take care of regular oil changes, fork oil change a few times on occasion when replacing seals. Performance-wise the most we did was remove the baffle and maybe changed sprockets up and down to limit speed on kids stuff but that’s about the extent of our changing parts. That was a while back when I was growing up.

Since then I recently bought a lightly used xr650r which according to what the previous owner told me is what ya’ll call “uncorked” so maybe I am turning into a Zuit-Suit Rider now but my bike compared to those listed by other members is mostly stock!

I’m not saying that the extra stuff isn’t needed, I’m just asking why are all these things changed so often, and what do they do? What am I missing? I am in the category that if you haven’t ridden anything better you’ll never know the difference. My uncle still rides his bone stock orange 85’ XR350R and it runs real strong and he is just an example of our riding group. Before mine I had an 86' XR250 which I bought after I graduated up from my xr200, xr100, yamaha 80, YZ50. I only bought this bike because it was a great deal, and a friend knew the owner. I feel lucky that I stumbled onto it because it sounds like I couldn't have made a better choice. I have heard nothing but good things about it.(other than people complaining about the weight)

A few of the changed that I’m curious about are;

Triple Clamps,

Fork Suspension,

Shock Suspension,


Edelbrock carb,

Handle bars,

Steering stabilizers,

Rims /Hubs,

Foot pegs,





Hot start,

Even Spokes?!

My head is spinning for all that is available. I guess I’m just old fashioned or just lived in the dark. I’m hoping that ya’ll that have spent all this money can fill me in. It won’t mean I’m going out to buy it all because I doubt I could afford it but at lest I’ll know what I’m missing. (I probably will buy stuff I feel would help me) I look forward to reading all of ya’ll's replies and we’ll just see where it leads. I may be asking more questions depending on what I learn from ya'll!



First of all WELCOME :)

If your bike is uncorked that means all the smog junk has been removed so the bike should run right.

Most people up grade the triple clamps so they can run fat bars like Pro-Tapers and a stearing damper. Scotts has a package deal. Buy changing the clamps you can move the bars forward for better handleing and easeier riding for the big/tall guys. If your bike runs good don't mess with a pumper carb. I would go with the skid plates and bars. You can get a larger gas tank for the long rides. The BRP gets around 30MPG so that doesn't take you far on 2.6 gal's of gas.

Well lets see where to start...

By what us "zuit-suit" riders call uncorking we are not only maximizing the power of the pig we are also ensuring that the motor will operate at an optimum temperature.

See when the bikes come from the factory, it comes in an extremely lean condition (this has to do with honda of Japan being able to meet the EPA requirements set forth by the US). The lean condition means that the engine is running at an increased temperature which in turn causes premature engine wear. So by opening it up (or "uncorking" it) you are not only ensuring proper operating temperatures but you are also gaining 24% more horsepower (I may be wrong on the percentage)

Now that the bike is opened up the next place to start would be setting up the suspension. It's like a race car. You could have a smokin' fast car but if the suspension isn't set up properly the car is not going to go anywhere fast. So to set it up for your weight and riding style/terrain is only beneficial as it will maximize the bikes potential (to encounter obstacles) which in turn will make it so you as the rider are actually riding the bike in lieu of just holding on for the ride.

The handlebars...well it's your perogative...you can replace them once with tapered bars (which are exponetially stronger than stock) or you could keep the spaghetti bars that honda puts on and replace them every time you lay her over good...and yes I'm talking about the bike...

Now stearing stabilizers. I will be honest I was a non-believer until I rode a bike with one and now I will never own a bike that doesn't have one installed. If you don't do any other mods to your bike...you are doing yourself a dis-service by not isntalling one. The stabilizer will keep the front wheel tracking in lieu of it being deflected off obstacles on the trail. Basically what it does is it keeps the front wheel going straight which in turns keeps the handle bars straight which allows you not to fight the bike.

The other stuff is mostly personal preferance. The wider footpegs are more comfortable, the higher capacity gas tanks...well I don't think I need to get into what advantage that has, after market rims are stronger and lighter, etc.

Mainly most of us spend the money on this stuff so we can sit on this forum and talk about it...but also we like to tinker with our bikes and maximize the performance.

You don't have to do anything to your bike and I'm sure you would have as much fun as the guy that has spent buckets on aftermarket parts....As long as you're having fun who gives a rip if you're a "zuit-suit" or a good ole boy from 'bama...

But I will say this INVEST IN A DAMPNER...it is money well spent.



Some mods are driven by the riders weight, some by his riding style and some by his love for new stuff. I try to keep the total cost down and focus on good maintenance.

Here is a good link about maintenance issues learned over the years by a fellow BRP rider.



WOW, lots of questions. I think the biggest and best improvement that I made to my bike had to have been the suspension. When and if you decide to get your suspension re-worked, you will never want to ride another bike. It is literelly night and day. The anodizing is part of some suspension packages, but not really that necessary, but it does help. I always compare it to riding on a sofa it is so plush. If you do long rides, then you will definetely want to get a larger tank. I ride with an IMS 4.6 gallon tank and when riding hard, I get about 100 miles to a tank. Riding slower I can get probably 140 miles.

The second most important investment that you should make for your bike is a steering damper. What this does pretty much is absord any hits that you might take with the front tire. It will absorb the shock of hitting a rick that might otherwise have thrown you off the bike. Scott's makes a good one, but I have also heard good things about the GPR's. DOn't know too much about them.

If you have ever fallen on the 650 there is a pretty good chance that the bars will have bent, if not, then they will eventually. There are hundreds of diferent combinations that one can put together with regards to bars and clamps.

Everything else that you mention are minimal upgrades that you could probably do without. The stock pegs are decent. The rims/hubs are really very tough and you could probably do real well with the stock stuff. The hot start, spokes, seat, etc. I would not even worry about. I have a computer, but am on the third one already as the first two have broken on me. They are nice when they work though.

The stock pipe can also be worked over to make it almost as good as most after-market pipes. That and all you need is a drill.

I would also recommend the chest protector. They make some that you can wear under your clothing so you don't have to look like a zuit-suit rider. You will be thankful to have one if you ever fall. They also do wonders when the guy in front of you kicks up those huge rocks.

Anyhow, hope this helps a little. Good luck and enjoy the riding.

Welcome to TT. All these we do are done for all kinds of different reasons, some of which are:

1) because we think we need them

2) more power or better performance

3) we enjoy personalizing things

4) it’s a hobby

5) safety

6) necessity

7) ergonomics

8) etc.

There’s nothing wrong with a stock bike and it will go like heck just as yours is setup. You can have tons of fun on a stock bike and don’t need all these goodies to have a good time or win races, but if you’ve got the extra money and like having fun or improving performance or personalizing things, etc, then maybe you’ll find value in one of these mods versus a stock part. Here’s my perception of the following mods:

Triple Clamps,

If you plan to install Pro Taper handlebars (much stronger than stock & thicker), then you’ll need a new triple camp because some of the aftermarket bars simply won’t fit in the stock triple clamp. It will only take a few falls before you mangle the stock bars. Also, people are built differently. Some are talker, some shorter, some fatter, etc. Aftermarket triple clamps can also move the handlebars farther forward or up higher to better accommodate taller people like me at 6’5” tall.

Fork Suspension / Shock Suspension

Suspension keeps your wheels in contact with the ground and helps to provide the control you need to effectively pilot your bike over various terrains at the speeds you prefer to ride at. There’s not a one size fits all because all people don’t weight the same amount, or have the same riding skills, or ride the same type of terrain, etc.


It looks kool and can be used to personalize your bike. It’s also a protective coating to help certain parts last longer, look better for longer periods of time, minimize certain fluids from becoming contaminated as quickly (i.e. anodizing the fork tubes), etc.

Edelbrock carb,

Offers a more efficient venture design for more power. Offers an accelerator pump for better off idle through mid range throttle response. It’s easier to tune than the stock carb. It offers an internal fuel cell that provides better fuel delivery and prevents your bike from flooding if you lay your bike down for some reason. You’ll get one kick starts most of the time when your bike has been dumped and most of the time it stays running. It also automatically compensates for riding at different altitudes where as you’d have to rejet your stock carb to get the most from it.

Handle bars,

You’ll find out soon enough if you dump your bike how well they’ll hold up. Ergonomics are another important factor when riding and different size people have different needs, which is a good enough reason to buy handlebars that fit your needs. Aftermarket bars are often stronger and some can reduce arm pump as well. If you’re racing and you go down or if you’re out for a week or so camping/riding with your friends and you go down, you’re race or camping trip could be ruined if your bars get bent or broken.

Steering stabilizers

This has been a safety item for me as well as a performance upgrade. If you’re flying across the desert at 100MPH and hit something unexpected, the stabilizer will keep your front wheel straight as opposed to deflecting one way or the other and possibly prevent injury to yourself and or damage to the bike from crashing. If you’re riding in the woods and your bars smack something, you may loose control of your bike and the stabilizer could help to minimize the chances of going down. If you’re riding in rocks where the front wheel can easily get deflected, the stabilizer will keep your front wheel straight. A few months ago I was riding through some very nasty whoops and I was dead tired. I was slowing down from 3rd WOT and just got out of the rhythm of things when all of a sudden there was a whoop out of sequence and a large uneven rock inside the whoop. The quad in front of me smacked the rock and blew the bead on one of his tires and wasted his rim. I hit the rock right behind him and could feel the bars jerk hard, but the stabilizer stopped them from being ripped out of my hands and momentum carried me though without crashing, but without the stabilizer I would have surely gone down hard.

Rims /Hubs,

Depending on how hard your ride, it’s just a matter of time before you bend your wheels or break a hub. New wheels can save a little weight and they also look cool, but most aftermarket wheels/hubs are also built significantly stronger and they are usually less expensive than buying the factory wheels/hubs from Honda. It’s a win win situation if and when the time comes.

Foot pegs,

Some people buy them to save weight while some buy them because they may be stronger and had to replace a bent or broken stock peg. My boots don’t fit so well on the stock pegs and they also slip around a good bit. The IMS Pro pegs I bought are both longer and wider to better fit my feet, but they are also a lot sharper and greatly minimize my feet from moving around compared to the stock pegs. Riding effectively on all types of terrain requires being able to shift your body weight accordingly and these pegs help me to move around better without slipping off, especially on fast braking bumps, in water, mud, etc.


The stock tank is only good for 45 to 100 miles depending on how hard you ride. Your mileage will vary greatly depending on how much you twist the throttle and how much of a load is placed on the engine. Aftermarket tanks provide more fuel for longer riding. The last thing you want to do is push that heavy beast back to your camp, especially if there’s any hills involved.


Some people use them to see how fast they’re going, how far they’re going, how many hours they’ve been riding, etc. They also help with navigation, determining maintenance cycles, etc.


It’s always nice to have a couple extra air filters, especially if you’re going riding/camping for a week or so. The cleaner your filter is, the happier your engine will be.


Some people install new seats for looks while some do it for functionality. A gripper seat keeps your butt from sliding all over, which affords you better control of you bike. Taller people may like a taller seat and shorter people may like a shorter seat. Sometimes seats wear out and sometimes they’re damaged, so an aftermarket seat makes good sense because they usually cost way less than the factory Honda seat.

Hot start,

If fuel gets in your cylinder after you’ve dumped your bike, it may be hard to start. The hot start can help some bikes get started quicker by momentarily allowing cooler air into the cylinder. If you’re racing, then getting your bike started quickly is important and the hot start can help you get your bike running quicker again, but you won’t need this if you have an Edelbrock carb because it will start in one kick whether hot, cold or even when you dump it.

Even Spokes?

Spokes bend and sometimes they break. If you’re building a new wheel, then using stronger spokes can maximize the strength of your new wheels.

One thing that no one has mentioned is a Scott Sommers fork brace. I had one on my XR600 and it helped a lot. I never had a damper until I got the DRZ. Now I have one on my XR650 as well. I was thinking about getting a fork brace because the XR forks are sloppy compared to the DRZ which are bigger in dia.

Wow, Ya’ll are thorough! I know that was a long list. Was there anything I was forgetting? Thanks for all the info! I can see now that I’m will be spending some dough on this pig!

That steering stabilizer sounds like it would have saved me quite a few bumps and bruises (and a couple of stitches) along with the handle bars off my old 250. (I stole them off when I bent mine!)

So I do need the upper triple clamp to get quality stronger bars? I guess I’d have to get one if I got a stabilizer? Are the lower clamps needed or helpful?

I followed a link to Rocky Mountain motorcycle parts and they said this about bars, “HANDLEBAR SPECIFICATIONS-Determining the correct pull back, width and height is an important step in the process of buying a new set of handlebars. These three attributes will affect the overall feel and comfort of your riding style.” That’s allot of pressure how am I supposed to know what is correct? What gives the best control for quick maneuverability? I did chop my stock ones to 30” and I liked that but height and pull back are new terms for me?

Rims, I’ll just wait till I tear these up and I have fixed my stock odometer 3 times now (keep breaking off the reset knob) but I like the idea of knowing the speed as well so maybe a computer will be the next time this thing breaks.

The idea of the tank sounds tempting because our trail loops aren’t too long but I’ve had a few days I’ve limped back on reserve. So I’ve learned to take it easy after a certain point on the trail. What worries me about the larger tanks, do they feel more bulky and do they raise the center of gravity much? I know fuel weighs 6lbs a gallon (I think?) so I guess only 12lbs added but I was thinking that maybe that it was riding higher may feel different? Any ideas?

Everyone mentioned suspension? Can I do much to them stock? I already changed the fluid just because I’m anal about tuning and changing everything when I buy something so I start fresh. But anything else I can do stock like adjusting the shims or anything or do I have to do the valves. I have seen the racetech site that someone here recommended and boy that stuff can add up quick? $$$ I’d trust myself to do stuff like installing stuff but suspension seems more like an art instead of mechanics and I ain’t a very artistic fellow! I do weigh averagely 155-160 before the holidays, 165-170 with my winter weight ;-)

Anyone know of a job I can get for my pig so it can start pulling its own weight? I’m married but I didn’t know owning one of these things would be like raising kids! I’m sure it like other things though that once its all done and paid for the only cost is fuel and routine maintenance. Thanks, I continue to look forward to ya’ll responses.


J T,

Find a bar that feels comfortable to you. Sit on your bike and hold your arms/hands out like you're going to grab your bars, but instead rest your arms in a comfortable postition while sitting on your seat like you're riding. Don't reach out uncomfortably or have your arms pushed back, etc, but figure out where your arms/hands comfortably fall and then find some bars that are closer to those needs. Don't worry about buying a lower triple clamp, cause your money is better saved for for something else, like rear tires that you'll be chewing up.

I'm a big fan of Pro Taper bars. They are expensive, but they are super tough and will take one heck of a beating before they bend. They require a new triple clamp because they are thicker. If you're going to get a damper, then consider a damper package that includes bars, damper, triple clamp, etc. These things don't come cheap and there are a few different brands to choose from such as WER, RTT, Scott & GPR. My advice would be to consider either the Scotts or GPR, both of which are excellent units. The Scotts offers more adjustability, but the GPS offers better free service should you need it. The extra adjustability is nice, but most people never use it from what I know.

The 3 tanks to consider are the Clarke 4.3, the IMS 3.2 and the IMS 4.6. I personally think the IMS 4.6 looks clunky and ugly, but the 3.2 looks nicer. I have the Clarke 4.3 and its smaller in size than the IMS 4.6 and just slightly bigger than the IMS 3.2. The Clarke 4.3 isn't all that much larger than the stock tank in terms of ergonomics. It's also the least expensive, comes in different colors (clear is nice), has the best matching Honda Red color and fits well.

Your weight is well suited for the stock fork springs, so you don't need springs :D Setup the free sag and race sag on your rear shock, then work on fine tuning your clickers and see how much you get from them. Maybe that's all you need, but there are several good suspension articles on the net that will help you figure out how to adjust your settings to get the most from your bike. After trying everything and you're still not happy, then consider getting your suspension revalved by a good suspension tuner who has the experience behind them to tune your suspension to you needs. Make a list of what you like and don't like about your suspension and a good tuner can work with to make your suspension meet your individual needs, but see what you can accomplish on your own first and maybe you'll be more than happy.

If you get the optional lawn mower attachment that goes through your rear axle, you can mow lawns with your bike for extra money and have fun at the same time. The XR650R also make a good trenching tool for sprinklers, etc :)

I have decided to edit this so hopefully it doesn't pop up back at the top of the list again because I'm not adding anything new and in case someone runs across it in the future and tries to contact me. I just want to thank all of those that have helped me with their expertise. Below I mentioned the want to buy used aftermarket parts but shortly after posting I found that my wife will not be able to continue her work-study program to pay for school so we will have to pay for her tuition as well as mine come Sept so I am refraining from purchasing anything else. But thanks again to those that have offered parts! I wish I could take them off your hands because ones man’s junk is my treasure! I’ll know where to look and post when I have the need for something though!


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Anyone, in the need for some quick dough, have used useful aftermarket parts for sale? I've searched ebay and keep an eye there but I though I'd ask the sources of where most of it comes from anyway. I'm intrested in about anything because what I have is basicly stock if you want to email me privately feel free at XR650rKing@yahoo.com. I hope to hear from some of you! Thanks


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